Published on 05/14/2018

A Touch of Nostalgia

Cranial Translation
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Have we got some stories to to tell you...
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! I hope you've all been enjoying Dominaria so far - I know I have! I first started playing Magic right at the beginning of the Weatherlight saga ages ago, so finally returning to where it all began is really exciting to me. We return to the plane where our history of Magic all began, but we also get a modern take on its characters and mechanics.

But enough about looking at the past, let's look to the future, and answering your Magic rules questions! If you have a rules question of your own, you can send it to us, and we'll send you a reply. We might even use your question in a future article! You can send us short questions via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet. Or if you have a slightly longer question, you can e-mail us at .

Q: I control a Mox Amber, and the only other legendary permanent I control is Karn, Scion of Urza. Can I tap my Mox for colorless mana?

A: No you cannot. Mox Amber can only tap for colored mana and there are only five colors in Magic: red, black, blue, white, and green. Colorless is not a color. You're free to tap the Mox for mana, but since you don't control any colored legendary creatures or planeswalkers, it won't generate any mana.

Q: I'm attacking with a Baloth Gorger. My opponent casts Seal Away and targets my Gorger with the enter the battlefield trigger. In response I untap the Gorger with Gift of Growth. Is my Gorger still exiled?

A: Nope, your Gorger is not exiled. When Seal Away's trigger goes to resolve, it checks to make sure its target is still legal. The trigger requires a target tapped creature, but thanks to the Gift, the Gorger is no longer tapped. Since the target for the triggered ability is no longer legal, the Seal's trigger does nothing when it resolves and the Gorger is not exiled (and is still attacking your opponent).

Q: I cast a Dauntless Bodyguard, intending to choose Benalish Marshal. Can my opponent kill my Marshal with Lightning Strike in response to the Bodyguard's trigger?

A: Dauntless Bodyguard doesn't have a triggered ability. You choose another creature you control as the Bodyguard enters the battlefield. This choice does not use the stack and can't be responded to. Your opponent can't wait for the Bodyguard to resolve and then try to kill the creature you're choosing before the choice is made.

What your opponent could do is cast the Strike with the Bodyguard still on the stack. The Strike will resolve first, killing the Marshal, then the Bodyguard enters the battlefield. While you won't be able to select the Marshal, if you control another creature, you'll still be able to choose that creature (even if it wasn't the one you wanted to pick when you cast the Bodyguard).

Q: I cast Dauntless Bodyguard, and as it enters, I choose my crewed Heart of Kiran. On my opponent's next turn, my opponent tries to destroy the Heart with Abrade. Do I have do crew my Heart first, or can I just sacrifice the Bodyguard to make it indestructible?

A: There's no need to crew the Heart first. Once the creature is selected, sacrificing the Bodyguard will cause the chosen permanent to become indestructible. It doesn't matter if that permanent is currently a creature or not, it just needs to be a creature as the Bodyguard enters so it can be selected. Even if the Heart isn't a creature when the Bodyguard's ability resolves, the Heart will still gain indestructible until end of turn.

Q: If my opponent has a Muldrotha, the Gravetide in play and I have an Ashes of the Abhorrent in play, what happens?

A: Mostly bad things for your opponent (but not 100% bad). The Ashes prevents your opponent from casting any spells from their graveyard, which means that your opponent's Muldrotha is looking pretty sad, since you can't cast any of those nonlands from your graveyard. When a card uses the word "play", it means "play it if it's a land, cast it if it's not".

However, the Ashes only prevents them from casting spells from their graveyard. They're free to play lands, since playing a land isn't casting a spell. Maybe not completely what they wanted, but it's better than not being able to play anything from their graveyard at all.

Q: If I just resolved the third chapter ability of The Mirari Conjecture, then I cast Karn's Temporal Sundering. How many extra turns do I get: one or two?

A: You get two extra turns. There's nothing preventing you from casting multiple extra turn granting spells in a turn, and when we figure out which extra turn we get first, we just take the most recently one created. You resolved two copies of the Sundering this turn, so that means you'll get the next two turns. It doesn't matter that they're both resolving during the same turn (if you could have one extra turn at a time, Time Stretch wouldn't make much sense!).

Q: I cast Karn, Scion of Urza and activate the +1 ability, and my opponent chooses to exile my Lyra Dawnbringer with a silver counter. Then my opponent exiles Karn with Vraska's Contempt. If I play a second Karn, can I get the Lyra that was exiled by the first Karn?

A: Yes you can. Karn's -1 ability can get any card you own with a silver counter on it in exile. It doesn't have to be exiled by that Karn, it can be exiled by any Karn. This isn't a case of linked abilities - having the silver counter on it means that any copy of Karn can get it. Your second Karn will be able to put the Lyra that was exiled by the first Karn in your hand. Apparently, Karn was thinking ahead when he designed his abilities.

A little bit better than Skyship Weatherlight.

Q: If I cast Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, will it trigger off of itself being cast and let me return a creature card from my graveyard to the battlefield?

A: No it won't. Teshar's ability will only trigger if it's on the battlefield when you cast the historic spell. When you cast Teshar, Teshar is on the stack, not on the battlefield, so Teshar will not trigger off of itself being cast.

Q: I control Whisper, Blood Liturgist and a Deathbloom Thallid. Can I activate Whisper's ability, sacrificing Whisper and the Thallid and return the same Thallid I just sacrificed to the battlefield?

A: Sorry, that won't work out for you. When we activate abilities, we have to choose targets before we pay the costs. When we're choosing a target creature card in your graveyard to return with Whisper's ability, the Thallid isn't dead yet: it's still on the battlefield. Since it isn't in the graveyard, the Thallid isn't a legal target for Whisper's ability, even if it would end up dead in the graveyard shortly after we choose targets.

Q: My opponent stole my Tatyova, Benthic Druid with In Bolas's Clutches. On my turn, I cast Broken Bond to destroy the Clutches and put a Forest onto the battlefield. Will I get the trigger from Tatyova?

A: You will! When you're resolving the Bond, you follow the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. First, the Clutches is destroyed. Since there's nothing giving your opponent control of Tatyova anymore, you gain control of it again immediately, even in the middle of the Bond resolving. Then, you can put a land onto the battlefield. If you do, since you control Tatyova when the land enters, Tatyova will trigger and you can gain one life and draw a card.

Q: I control a Lich's Mastery, and my opponent just resolved their second Approach of the Second Sun this game. Does my Mastery prevent my opponent from winning the game?

A: Your opponent is winning this game, and your Mastery won't stop it. Compare the wording of the Mastery to a card like Platinum Angel: the Angel not only stops you from losing the game, but it also prevents your opponents from winning the game. While it may feel like that your opponent winning the game is the same thing as you losing the game, it's not. While the Mastery does a good job of stopping you from losing the game, it doesn't do anything to prevent your opponent from winning the game.

Q: If I control a Lich's Mastery and I give it to my opponent with Harmless Offering, do I lose the game?

A: Nope, you don't lose the game. Changing controller doesn't cause anything to leave or enter the battlefield, so giving your opponent control of the Mastery doesn't count as the Mastery leaving the battlefield.

However, since your opponent now controls the Mastery, they're the ones affected by it, an they'll lose the game if the Mastery leaves the battlefield. While it does have hexproof (so you can't target it once you lose control of it), you could use something like Back to Nature to destroy it once they've gained control of it and cause them to lose the game.

Q: What happens if I have a 1/1 Champion of the Flame and attach Skullclamp to it? Does it die?

A: Your Champion lives (whether you wanted it to or not). As soon as Skullclamp becomes attached, we apply the two effects that are modifying its power and toughness (+1/-1 from Skullclamp, +2/+2 from its own ability since it has an equipment attached to it). There's never a point where we've just applied Skullclamp's effect and not the Champion's effect. The Champion goes from being a 1/1 creatures before Skullclamp becomes attached to a 4/2 creature and survives.

Q: If I have a Cabal Stronghold and an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in play, will the Stronghold's ability count all of my basic lands?

A: It will! Urborg gives everyone's lands the Swamp subtype, and the Stronghold counts the number of basic lands you control with the Swamp subtype, not just basic lands named Swamp. With Urborg in play, all of your basic lands (not just your Swamps) will count for the Stronghold's ability.

Just as annoying today as when it was first printed.

Q: If Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp is my commander, can I dodge the commander tax by always using his alternate cost?

A: Nope. As long as you're casting your commander from the command zone, the commander tax will apply - no matter how you're actually casting it. You're free to use the alternate cost of paying and tapping an untapped artifact you control instead of paying , but since you're still casting Zahid from the command zone, the commander tax will still apply to the alternate cost.

Q: Can I use Jodah, Archmage Eternal to get around the commander tax when casting my commander?

A: Negative. Just like Zahid a moment ago, Jodah's ability will get around the mana cost of the spell, but not any additional costs to the spell. The commander tax is an additional cost to cast the commander from the command zone, and Jodah's ability doesn't get around that. If you want to use Jodah's ability to cast your commander for the second time from the command zone, you'll have to pay .

Q: I have a Jodah, Archmage Eternal and a Pillar of the Paruns in play. Can I cast Verdant Force using Jodah's ability and mana from the Pillar?

A: No you cannot. A card's color is determined by its mana cost, color indicators, and other abilities that set the card's color. The mana you spend to cast the spell does not change the card's color. The mana from the Pillar can only be used to cast a mutlicolored spell, and even if you're using all five colors of mana to cast the Force, the Force is still just a green spell, not a multicolored spell, so the Pillar's mana cannot be used to cast it.

Q: Ok, one last question about Jodah, Archmage Eternal: what if I want to cast Kamahl's Druidic Vow? Can I choose a really big X if I want to?

A: Nope, Jodah doesn't work with X spells. Jodah is an alternate cost to casting and if you're casting a spell via an alternate cost, then nothing is letting you choose a value for X and X must be 0. You're free to cast the Vow by paying , but the Vow will be revealing 0 cards, not as many cards as you want to.

Q: If I have Odric, Lunarch Marshal and a Knight of Grace in play, will my creatures get hexproof from black from Odric's trigger every turn?

A: Yes they will! Hexproof from black is a variant of hexproof, but it's still a hexproof ability. Odric doesn't care if it's a hexproof variant, just that it's hexproof, so Odric will share hexproof from black among your creatures every combat phase. It's similiar to how Concerted Effort handles protection: the Effort just cares that the ability is giving protection, whether it's protection from red, protection from black, or protection from Homarids, the Effort cares about them all. Likewise, Odric will care about all varieties of hexproof, so it can share hexproof from a color among your creatures.

Q: Can I use mana from Thran Turbine to cast Wild Onslaught with kicker?

A: Nope, you can't. The mana from the Turbine cannot be used to cast a spell. Kicker is an additional cost to cast a spell, which means that it's part of the cost to casting the Onslaught. Since that cost is being used to cast a spell, you cannot use mana from the Turbine to pay the kicker cost of a spell.

That's all the time we have for this week, we'll see you all next week!


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